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  1. #1

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    Default vintage polk speakers and damping factor

    i don't know if anyone has experimented with this but what vintage polk speakers match well with a particular amplifier's damping factor. is there any consistency?

    for examples my monitor 5 w/peerless sounds much better on an old HK 730 with a damping factor of >30 than on a Yamaha HTR-5740 with a damping factor of >100.

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    I don't think that the damping factor is the salient variable there :-)

    There are too many variables (not the least of which is age of the components!)... the hk has dual power supplies and was designed for wide, flat bandwidth and (for its era) low IM and excellent transient response. The Yamaha... not so much.

    Also, bear in mind that the easiest route to a high damping factor (i.e., low output impedance) is gobs of negative feedback (local or global) -- and feedback can do more harm than good in the wrong (engineer's) hands!
    all the best,
    mrh

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    gotcha.

    is it true that many tube amps have low damping factors? people say a lot of tube gear sounds great so i guess that would be testament to the damping factor not really meaning that much.

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    Vacuum tube amps generally have low-ish damping factors. Autoformer-coupled solid state amplifiers such as a McIntosh MC2100 also exhibit a fairly low DF. Vacuum amplifiers with class A, single-ended triode outputs generally have very low damping factors (relatively high output impedance) but it's not because they're class A, or because they're single-ended, or because they have vacuum tube outputs. It's first and foremost because they use no negative feedback (except for an itty-bit that's actually intrinsic to the internal structure of the output tubes).

    An amp with a low damping factor will interact more with its load; the less ideal that load is (i.e., if the speaker's impedance curve have significant capacitive or inductive components, as opposed to a purely resistive load), the more "synergy" (or lack of same) the amplifier/load combination will exhibit.

    The old salesman's claim that "a low DF means better control of your woofers" isn't exactly untrue, but reality's more subtle than that.

    Although the corollary of all this is that all amplifiers do not sound exactly the same (even though Julian Hirsch wanted us to believe they did), at least with any given set of loudspeakers :-)
    Last edited by mhardy6647; 07-13-2013 at 11:45 AM.
    all the best,
    mrh

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhardy6647 View Post
    Although the corollary of all this is that all amplifiers do not sound exactly the same (even though Julian Hirsch wanted us to believe they did), at least with any given set of loudspeakers :-)
    I once heard encountered someone who argued "watts are watts" and all watts are the same.
    I bought my first amp purely on specs... it was a pioneer 1015tx 7.1 surround receiver... although not the worst... the highs were a bit grainy etc and it did not compare at all to any of my future amps rated at the same power level. On top of that when I turned it up past the -20db mark I could hear a light hissing that went on like a switch. So annoying.
    As you said there's way more to it than that - negative feedback, dampening factor etc.

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